praise: express warm approval or admiration
TaylorJo, pictured in this post, is now a senior in high school. She has this visual example of how she glowed as a child, how she radiated confidence, and how much she enjoyed being herself.
I photographed two high school graduations for friends this year. I admire the young people I photographed.
The mystic poets offer an interesting slant on praise. Poets like Rumi praised life itself, and the motivating power that energizes it. They get very abstract as they praise something that is beyond our grasp and understanding.
Rumi even praised misfortune.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
The light within people is beyond my grasp and understanding. Praising that light comforts me somehow. Our house cat, Emma has an inner light.
I think we do well to cultivate our particular form of praise. Rumi wrote mystic verse. I make photographs. I have found that when those scary visitors are at my door and I turn my attention to praising someone, I forget to be afraid.
Paramahansa Yogananda taught that “fear cannot enter a quiet heart.” The act of praising brings on a state of quiet for me.
The picture of TaylorJo running through a sunbeam prompts me to think that she was in tune with Rumi’s mystic joy. We all start out communing with the magic. We can restore that feeling, I believe, through the power of praise.